[Protest of FHwA Contract Award for Study Concerning Ramp Signing for Trucks]

B-231914: Sep 27, 1988

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A firm protested a Federal Highway Administration (FHwA) contract award for a study concerning ramp signing for trucks, contending that: (1) FHwA improperly evaluated the awardee's bid; (2) the technical superiority of its bid outweighed the awardee's lower cost; (3) since FHwA gave more weight to cost than to technical considerations, its evaluations were inconsistent with the solicitation's selection criteria; (4) FHwA incorrectly determined that the bids in the competitive range were technically equal; (5) the awardee was not a responsible contractor; (6) FHwA had a prejudiced view of the awardee's capability and was unable to make a proper responsibility determination; and (7) FHwA should reimburse it for its bid and protest preparation costs. GAO held that: (1) FHwA reasonably determined that the awardee's bid was technically acceptable; (2) FHwA properly used cost as a deciding factor between bids it considered to be essentially technically equal; (3) it would not review the FHwA affirmative determination of the awardee's responsibility, since the protester did not allege that FHwA acted fraudulently or in bad faith or did not apply definitive responsibility criteria; and (4) the protester was not entitled to reimbursement for its bid and protest preparation costs, since its protest was without merit. Accordingly, the protest was denied in part and dismissed in part.